The Council on Foreign Relations recently asked the above question of some of its favorite commentators. One of the answers sent to this seat of the Eastern Liberal Establishment likely surprised whoever received it. Andrew Bacevich is a professor of International Relations at Boston University. He happens to be a fairly new member of the CFR. But he is also the father of an Iraq War victim; his U.S. Army lieutenant son perished during the fighting.
In his uninvited response to the query posed by the CFR, Professor Bacevich scoffed at the customarily cited benefit — the capture and death of Saddam Hussein. Then, without mentioning the loss of his son, he added:
In a front-page editorial Thursday, the publisher of the New Hampshire Union Leader told readers of the statewide daily that "Ron Paul is a dangerous man." While the Republican presidential candidate's libertarian views on domestic issues are attractive to some voters, the editorial conceded, "it is Paul's position on issues of our national security that are truly dangerous."
"He has repeatedly said that we should allow Iran to continue to develop a nuclear weapon," is one of the charges against Paul in the editorial, written by publisher Joseph W. McQuaid "This is the same country whose leadership vows death to America, the 'Satanic power,' and who wants Israel wiped from the map." Yet the editorial page of the same newspaper two days earlier featured a column by Patrick J. Buchanan, in which the columnist cited the statement of Pentagon spokesman George Little in clarifying recently televised comments by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta.
"The secretary was clear that we have no indication that the Iranians have made a decision to develop a nuclear weapon," Little said. While statements by President Obama and the other GOP presidential candidates have either alleged or implied that Iran is right on the verge of producing a nuclear bomb, Rep. Paul has argued against forcing a military confrontation over a weapon that might not even be in the developmental stages — one that, according to the Pentagon spokesman, the Iranian government may not have even decided to build. Paul insists that our nearly nine-year war in Iraq over alleged "weapons of mass destruction" should be instructive in that regard.
“A dictator enjoys unrestrained power over the people. The legislative and judicial branches voluntarily cede this power or it’s taken by force. Most of the time, it’s given up easily, out of fear in time of war and civil disturbances, and with support from the people, although the dictator will also accumulate more power with the use of force.” Those prescient words of Republican presidential candidate Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas) are taken from his book Liberty Defined: 50 Essential Issues That Affect OurFreedom. The tyrannical assumption of power by the President and the cession of unheralded power to him by the Congress has taken place precisely as Dr. Paul warned.
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) is an unprecedented, unconstitutional, and unchecked grant of dictatorial power to the President in the name of protecting the security of “the homeland.” Ron Paul described the bill (soon to be signed into law by the President) as a “slip into tyranny,” one that will almost certainly accelerate “our descent into totalitarianism.”
What of the NDAA? Are there indeed provisions contained therein that so ferociously tear at the constitutional fabric of our Republic?
How did your U.S. Representative and Senators vote on last summer's debt deal that raised the national debt limit while promising to reduce future spending and deficit projections? How did your Representative vote on a measure that would have repealed the federal phaseout of the ubiquitous incandescent light bulb? And how did your Senators vote on an amendment to prohibit U.S. citizens from being held indefinitely in the ongoing war against terrorism without being given a trial?
The answers to all three questions above are in our latest "Freedom Index" in the January 9, 2012 issue of The New American and also available online as a downloadable PDF.
The New American's "Freedom Index" is a congressional scorecard that rates all members of the House and Senate based on their adherence to constitutional principles of limited government, fiscal responsibility, national sovereignty, and a traditional foreign policy of avoiding foreign entanglements. The index is published four times each two-year congressional term; each index rates Congressmen based on 10 key votes.
In response to the passage by the House and the Senate of the National Defense Appropriations Act of 2012 (NDAA), Stewart Rhodes, founder of Oath Keepers, announced a national effort to recall every member who voted for the act.
Oath Keepers was founded by Rhodes to encourage current members of the military services and veterans to keep their oath to protect and defend the Constitution against “all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Members commit to following certain “orders we will not obey,” including, as especially relevant to NDAA, Number Three:
On December 22, a judge from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued an order granting a motion to dismiss a complaint filed by Abdul Rahim Abdul Razak al Janko, a former prisoner at the Navy’s Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility in Cuba. In the suit, Janko, a Syrian national, alleges that while detained at the Guantanamo Bay facility he was subjected to torture by agents of the United States government and armed forces.
The National Defense Authorization Act will be made law with the stroke of President Obama’s pen (perhaps autopen from Hawaii?). With the enactment of the NDAA, Americans suspected by the President of having committed a “belligerent act” may be apprehended by the military and detained without recitation of charges and without access to an attorney until such time as the President decides that the “War on Terror” is over.
Majorities in both chambers of Congress voted in favor of granting the President this autocratic authority. In the Senate, only 13 members of that body stood up to defend the constitutionally protected civil liberties of Americans. In the House of Representatives, 283 of the people’s representatives violated their oath of office and voted to pass this legislation.
One of those who was true to his vow to protect the Constituiton from all enemies, foreign and domestic, has now offered an amendment to the NDAA that would “clarify the language” of the measure so as to make it explicit that no American citizen could be detained under the provisions of that act without being provided the full panoply of due process protections.
Bill O'Reilly, the provocative and usually hawkish host of The O'Reilly Factor on the Fox News channel, warned Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in a telecast earlier this week that bombing Iran "starts World War III."
Interviewing the former Massachusetts governor in O'Reilly's "No-Spin Zone," the host challenged Romney's stated readiness to "make sure we have military options, combined with crippling sanctions."
"Of course we we have military options," O'Reilly replied. Romney insisted the options must be "developed in a way that Iran understands we would use military options."
"You're a tough guy?" O'Reilly asked, challenging the candidate. "You're going to stare them down and say 'Look, I'm gonna use them'? If you bomb Iran, that starts World War III. You know that. They're going to try to block Hormuz. Oil will double. The unintended consequences to the United States all across the Muslim world will be horrible. That's what Iran is banking on."
The drug cartel war moves into the U.S. On Monday, November 21st, D.E.A. agents in unmarked cars were discreetly following a large chemical tanker truck carrying 300 pounds of concealed marijuana as they monitored a "controlled delivery" — a law enforcement trap for drug smugglers. Suddenly, in a secluded area of suburban Houston, at least three vehicles rapidly approached the truck, and several members of Los Zetas, a dangerous Mexican drug cartel, jumped out of the vehicles, "yanked open the passenger cab door and repeatedly shot Chapa [the truck driver], whose hands had been raised in the air," tossed his body to the street, and may have been about to drive off with the truck, when dozens of D.E.A. agents and local law enforcement converged on the scene, killed one member of Los Zetas, and arrested four others. Something had definitely gone wrong with this controlled delivery.
After the standard, one-day news blackout to give law enforcement a chance to run down any leads garnered from the arrests, various news media were reporting that "hijackers" had attempted "to take control of the truck" — thereby leaving the impression that the murdered driver was merely unfortunate collateral damage, because he just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
However, according to Curtis Collier — President of U.S. Border Watch, with more than 20 years of law enforcement and drug interdiction experience — this incident was not an "attempted truck hijacking." It was a planned hit, designed to send a message to rival drug cartels, as well as to law enforcement.
Earlier this week, two human rights advocacy groups issued a joint preliminary report denouncing the governments of Europe for allegedly aiding the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in conducting the now infamous rendition program. Persons accused by the U.S. government of being "enemy combatants" were subject to "extraordinary rendition": capture and shipment off to one of the so-called “black site” secret prisons for questioning, where the detainees were often reportedly subjected to inhuman tactics to elicit responses from them.